There are some genres of music that you just go see live even if you don’t know a single song by the band. Metal and punk bands usually have shows I can just show up at and have a good time, regardless if I know any lyrics to sing along to. Well, let me add “Irish Punk” to that list now that I have seen the Dropkick Murphys live. I can honestly say I was the definition of a bandwagon fan at that show, really only knowing the words to “Shipping Off To Boston” probably the most famous Irish punk song ever written. But by the end of the night I was singing along with the best of the Irish bros, thanks to the extremely easy to learn choruses.
The show itself was a high-energy event, with the band rattling off a extraordinary number of songs in only about an hour. I had not realized, but they are not the stereotypical punk band I am used to screaming at me: these were forty year old men still out there grinding and living the punk life. It was cool the way they alternated their two lead singers and the step into the well between the stage and the crowd that they had in place was an awesome effect that allowed the band to climb closer to the crowd. At one point of the show I was basically front row but my inner guilt of not knowing the band at all allowed me to get gently pushed back as true fans surged forward. I didn’t mind, I was just enjoying the accordion, mandolin and bagpipes whenever they made an appearance to further solidify the band as one that anyone can go see whether they know every song or none at all.
As the show went on, the fans got a tad bit drunker and rowdier. By the end, they had gotten almost too rowdy for my liking. Two guys behind me apparently had not been getting on very well and all of a sudden I feel someone push me pretty hard. Feeling a little alarmed I turned around ready to have to help a drunk up and I see some guy swinging his first at some other guys cheek. Immediately other people in the crowd separated them but they continued to yell at each other and at least once more in the show a physical altercation occurred. It was thanks to people like that, that I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the mosh pit. I really wasn’t looking to get murdered for accidently stepping on someone’s foot or something like that so I avoided the huge Bostonians that made up most of the pit and let them have a good time throwing each other round.
Shipping off to Boston though. Man, that was a fun song to hear live. The whole crowd knew the lyrics and it came after the lead singer had given a long speech about the Boston Marathon bombings and how they had missed the original show in Albuquerque because they were needed at home to support. It was a cool personal element added and it made me really appreciate the fact they had rescheduled because a lot of artists that had bailed on us before never bothered to reschedule. It also made the song a lot more heart felt it seemed at least to me, so I screamed along with the rest of the Bostonians even though I had come to a realization I hated all things Boston (at least sports wise) fairly vehemently. All the talk about the Bruins and all the Red Sox and Patriots shirts really was taking a toll on my sorry eyes, but that is beside the point. The music was able to help me transcend that hatred.
When the show came to a close, the fans started to press closer and closer to the stage as if they knew something I didn’t. As it turned out they did. For the encore and the playing of “TNT” a cover of the AC/DC song, the band picked at first only girls to come on stage and dance and then the rest of the crowd was allowed up on stage. I hung back, not in the mood to fight crazed fans but Patch got up there and stood right by the drummer during the whole encore. And, as it turned out after the show, he had snagged half a drumstick and the set list! It was a cool end to a good show, but at the time we had only the after show at the Gasworks for AJJ on our minds.